Leicester City has taken yet another important step towards football’s big time. And, it all happened under Brendan Rodgers’ watch. Here’s how Rodgers managed to mobilize and rejuvenate a Leicester side that is now determined to return to the Champions League.
These are the main tactical elements of Leicester City’s 2019/20 season.
Brendan Rodgers’ managerial career
Brendan Rodgers caused a big stir with his announcement that he would be departing Scottish giants, Celtic, to join Leicester City. Sure, the Northern Irishman still must have felt he had plenty to prove in the Premier League. His previous employment with Liverpool provided many thrills, but little silverware. Still, questions about his character did arise.
Rodgers is a manager on the radar of top football for some time. Good spells with teams like Watford, or Swansea City awarded him the previously mentioned opportunity of managing Liverpool.
He impressed while at Celtic, starting with 2016, winning two Scottish Premiership trophies. Tactically, he adheres to modern managerial principles of ball controlled football, and rough pressing. He’s also a manager that likes to control the dressing room, focusing on man-management and developing his players’ character.
Leicester City’s tactics 2019/20: the nuts and bolts
Brendan Rodgers took over Leicester’s managerial position in February 2019. The Foxes had just recorded a 4-1 defeat to Crystal Palace. They had the worst defensive record in the league. Morale was low. In spite of all of this, the squad’s potential was unmistakable.
Leicester City, the team that shockingly won the 2015/16 Premier League, have one of the best transfer and recruitment policy in the country. Players like N’Golo Kante and Riyad Mahrez left soon after the EPL success. But, they were replaced by the likes of Wilfred Ndidi and Youri Tielemans, more than worthy successors.
Brendan Rodgers employs his familiar brand of tactics at Leicester City. The team looks to dominate possession, play pacey football and win the ball in the opposition’s half. Many modern teams try to do this.
Rodgers, however, has the players at his disposal to get results. And, he is not afraid of updating his tactics according to opposition and squad issues.
Leicester City in attack
Brendan Rodgers, unlike most other top-class managers, is not a man to stick to one system of play. Leicester can play in a 4-1-4-1 on most occasions. The manager is not averse to trying a 5-3-2, or even 3-4-2-1.
While the choice of formation usually depends on the opposition being faced, Rodgers knows he has at his disposal a squad that is easily adaptable. Furthermore, the players look capable of facing any EPL opposition.
The key to Rodgers’ attack is Jamie Vardy, the veteran striker who had fallen under favor with Claude Puel, the teams previous tactician. Little has changed about Vardy since his world-beating days of 2016. He remains an aggressive, pacey striker, capable of coming at the end of a good cross or through ball. The 33-year-old has scored 23 goals, at the time of writing, and assisted 5.
Leicester builds attack quickly. These are spearheaded by their excellent wing-backs (Pereira and Chillwell), as well as the players capable of working between the lines (Barnes, Tielemans, Vardy).
Let’s also not forget James Maddison. The 23-year-old is one of the league’s best playmakers, and, unsurprisingly, a transfer priority for many A-list clubs.
Leicester City in defense
While Leicester is comfortable with making use of possession, they also enjoy their counterattacking position. Against the likes of Manchester City, Rodgers instructed his players to remain in a tight block, of 7 or 8 men, around the penalty area.
Wilfred Ndidi one of the league’s best defensive midfielders, is key to these counter-attacks. The Nigerian has made, on average, two interceptions per game this season.
Central defenders, Johnny Evans and Çaglar Söyüncü, have been nothing short of a revelation this season. The Turkish youngster is a ball-playing defender capable of clearing the ball into safe areas. Evans is also effective on the ball and manages to provide numerous successful long-balls forward.
Where does this leave Leicester and Brendan Rodgers?
With one game left to play in the Premier League 2019/20 season, Leicester City have a chance of earning a place for next season’s Champions League. This would make all the difference, not just in terms of bragging rights, but as a way to balance the books.
Regardless of outcome, Leicester’s game are sure to remain an attraction to FootballCoin’s fans. The team’s players are nothing short of cult heroes in the fantasy football world community. Little about this is likely to change.